By Wayne MacPhail
Dr. David Suzuki identifies with a hummingbird. The bird is the hero of a South American fable. In the story a forest fire is roaring. All the animals are fleeing the conflagration. Not the hummingbird. It flies towards the inferno with a single drop of water suspended tentatively below its beak, like a single tear. The other animals mock him and his tiny, fruitless effort. He ignores them except to respond, "I'm doing the best I can."
For decades Suzuki has been doing just that. He's been a scientist, an activist, a science communicator, an author, a celebrity and a father. In all that he's had a single clear message. We are the stewards of this planet. If we don't change our ways, change the paradigm of how to view and treat the planet, we will perish. We will have committed ecocide, in Suzuki's view. He is not heartened by the election of Donald Trump, or Trump's selection of a climate change denier, Myron Ebell, to lead Trump's EPA transition team. Nor by the death of facts as a baseline for civil discourse. All trouble him deeply and rattle him to his core.
But, in his book Letters to My Grandchildren he does not offer them a bleak, unwinnable, unattainable better future. He offers them, and the rest of us, hope. Not a Pollyanna hope, but the deeper hope of a realist. "We will fight this until the end," he says. Which, he would argue, is the best we can do.